So it just seemed natural to do Diablo as part of the bonus miles for our Morgan Territory club ride. The Morgan Territory ride is the best one to do Diablo early on when warm--as even if lagging can get back to the Club if they stop 8 miles into the ride (for some reason many do so) or at least the slow climbers on the Morgan Climb. So set out 1 1/2 hours before the Club ride--and so did with Ward and Dr. Dave--actually we all started out 5 minutes apart but came together on the windy slopes of Mt. Diablo. The weather had changed--not beautifully hot as its been but windy and damp at the base of Diablo, it smelled like Napa in early fall.
We all took it easy--I figured it would be a balls out clusterfuck on Morgan the way the last two Saturdays rides have gone. At about 1000; mini inversion layer--sun out and got notably warmer. Not many riders on Diablo--Death Ride today and the usual early crazies training for same now had their event. But going down we saw tons of 8:00 starters--including Mrs. Pumpkin with a few of her friends.
Ward, Dr. Dave and I were actually running early--got down at about 8:55--figured the Diablo Cyclists would start the steep Italian Rollers out to Morgan at 9:10--and their start was a mile behind. We looped to Ward's house so he could dump excess clothes and when we got back to the main street didn't see cyclists in any direction--so we didn't know if group was ahead or behind. Safety net was that Christine's house was on the route and she'd get into the group that passed by first--so if no Christine we'd know Diablo Cyclists had passed and time to turn on the burners.
We fully expected to see Christine--as still a tad early by our calculations--but no Christine. But no Diablo Cyclists at the two slacker rest stops up the road. And no cyclists seen 1/2 mile ahead. So Dr. Dave, Ward and I utterly confused--where the hell is the Club?
So instead of riding a killer pace up Morgan we ride a bs' pace--unconvinced that the Club is really ahead of us--but if behind us surely Mark or the other climbers going hard would catch us. Morgan North side is well shaded--and the trees do a good job blocking the wind that is only blowing hard at the base of the climbs. If no one at the top of Morgan I plan to go back down. When we get to the top of Morgan we are surprised to see some bikes--but only two--NOW WE KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY. CA Mike left early--and Christine and he went up Morgan. Sunny with no wind on top of Morgan so we crash out waiting for the club--turns out they are far far back as the pelaton had an early flat. Cisco Dave and Stephen arrive about 15 minutes later and the rest of the club about 10 minutes behind them.
The early early early trio arrive at the top of Morgan. Beautiful and no wind (Christine photo) Stephen and Ward--back from back east--tell travel stories as we tell them how the Club rides went to hell without them. (Christine photo.)
When we get down off the lousy windswept curvy fast downhill that is Morgan--most of the Club turns Northwest to make the ride a 60 mile loop. (Dr. Dave sneaks off though he'll ride up to the Junction again.) Christine, Stephen, Drew, Cisco Dave, CA Mike, and new Hoosier Guy join Ward and I for some bonus miles Southeast to Livermore. "Some bonus miles" would eventually become "lots of bonus miles" as:
1) Close to Livermore Mike says he wants to go to Sunol
2) In Sunol Stephen says (he said he was joking) that we should do the Palomares climb
3) Riding back from Palomares Cisco Dave wants a 100 mile day--so he (later denied) said he wants to do South Gate - Mt. Diablo
All seemed like a good idea--when anyone mentioned it was hot I was quick to point out that last week it was 15-20 degrees warmer.
Paceline down to Sunol, little trouble with over eager riders getting to the front and wanting to up the speed. Palomares was nicely shaded and cooperative riding most of the way up--though I picked up the pace far short of the top so Dave couldn't unleash a quick jump near the end. He still did but we were both kinda fried and rode cooperatively the rest of the day. Some bonus miles as used the old Nick Salavdor rule whereas first folks up a climb have to go back down for rider in the back--who was young Hoosier rider who had just taken up road biking--his longest ride before today was 40 miles.. The pelaton going up Palomares with CA. Mike at the top. Ok--its kinda warm as I join the group in the shade at the top. (Christine photo)
As easy as the Palomares climb is for me, the downhill is hard. It starts off very steep--but afterwards is a very fast slightly downhill course that is a designated "sprint point" to the end of the road. We have a good group of sprinters and fast flatland riders--I'm feeling good so I just keep attacking on every slight uphill roller until I'm dead, but also gets the sprinters earn their victory.
Sprinters joy is short lived as we now turn uphill for a climb along Dublin Canyon Road--it actually isn't much of a climb--a few miles along the freeway service road but a steady 2-3% and usually with a tailwind going East. But when we start a tiny woman zooms by everyone and is spinning like crazy up the climb. I get behind her and am the only person who can stay with her until the turnoff at the summit--full of cars going every which way looking for parking for the rodeo nearby. Christine had fallen off--no doubt she would have stayed on her wheel if she was wearing a full white kit. (see last week's blog)
Regroup for the long boring ride along San Ramon valley Blvd in the heart of suburbia with loads of controlled intersections. Ward and I had gone through the 100 mile barrier but many other folks were sitting in the 80's. I still contend Cisco Dave proposed Mt. Diablo South Gate but in fairness he says "I'm not taking credit for South Gate....if I recall right in Dublin I asked how we could add 10 more miles 10 hit 100 miles before we get back to Walnut Creek...someone suggested South Gate..."...so, IT WAS DAVE'S IDEA.
Mike turned off and the rest of us 'druged along' (no Dr. Dave so I can destroy the English language) to Stephen's house at the base of Mt. Diablo for refreshments. It's about 7 miles to the Junction--Stephen figured out he just needed to go 4.25983627 miles up and then turn around to get 100 even--and he was only going to go 4.2983627 miles.
Ward doesn't look happy with Cisco Dave's idea of doing Diablo (Christine photo)
Ward and Drew at the deserted Diablo Junction. (Christine photo)
Very nice pace up--most of the ride had been a "C"--low exertion ride, so felt better than the hammer fests we've started off with the last few weeks. ("B" effort-ride at a pace faster than you'd normally go to keep up, "C" effort-ride at pace you'd do if riding solo) Again went down for New Hoosier guy who was about 5 minutes behind but game to do 100. In the morning Junction had been crowded with cyclists--now we were the only folks there.
Almost a bad ending to this ride. Young Hoosier guy has a mountain bike background and he quickly cannonballed past me and almost everyone else on the downhill while I set up where I usually go on downhills--taking it easy in the back. Cars coming up and worry is that a cyclist may be also coming up and dumbshit driver will go over center yellow line on hairpin and squarely onto downhill side of the road (first inpatient driver who passed us in the morning uphill passed on a hairpin curve.) So we go around a hairpin and Hoosier and Cisco Dave on side of the road--Hoosier guy took a turn too fast and tire slid out while cars coming up--luckily he landed on a dirt corner off to the slide. Little blood and road rash and bike OK--and Hoosier guy took rest of downhill at my slow pace.
Ward and I got in double metric--I'm stoked, Ward not as much as he's dead tired after returning from camping trip. Everyone else got in a hilly century. Good ride--good group..